A Contemporary Interpretation Of Coastal Australian Architecture

Anyone lucky enough to own a beach house on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula will tell you that friends and family are always inviting themselves over! The owners of this Sorrento property have embraced this, by engaging Cera Stribley Architects to design a home ideal for entertaining and hosting several guests at once.

The outcome is a contemporary house, inspired by the local architectural vernacular, with a cleverly-zoned floorplan adopting apartment-like spaces, to offer residents personal space as required.

Amelia Barnes
Supports The Design Files
Amelia Barnes
22nd of November 2019

When Cera Stribley Architects were engaged to design this Sorrento project, there was already a small shack and a pool on the site, but the property’s easterly views and potential for northern light weren’t being harnessed. The client was seeking a home that took better advantage of these natural assets, and was capable of hosting several guests across multiple generations at once.

Recognising the various needs of these guests, Cera Stribley imagined the floor plan as a series of self-contained spaces, each with their own bedroom wings, and connected by communal spaces. ‘On both floors, open-plan design interventions are implemented to provide flexibility across the spaces and floors. This creates ‘apartment-like living’ in the sense that the home could be used by a number of families cohabiting at once, providing the opportunity to choose how much contact they have with each other,’ says Chris Stribley, managing principal of Cera Stribley Architects.

The overall design aesthetic draws on Australian vernacular architecture, particularly in the materials used, which reference the classic Mornington beach boxes. ‘The use of natural timber that ages with the design was purposefully selected to eventually blend with the grey trunks of the Moonah and tea trees, to achieve a bespoke architectural outcome,’ Chris says.

There’s also a nod to mid-century design in the clean and enduring style, ‘other than the curve of the building, which was a direct response to the site levels and orientation,’ explains Chris.

Timber, exposed block work and polished concrete were selected for their timeless qualities and ability to beautifully wear over time in line with the surrounding landscape. Timber also has the effect of introducing warmth into the otherwise minimal space, which is juxtaposed with polished concrete floors.

Retaining the existing pool on site was one of the most challenging but ultimately rewarding elements of this project for Chris. ‘We needed to ensure there was a level of surveillance of this area, while still maximising the northern aspect and views to the east. In the end, it was one of the aspects of the design that I really liked, and I feel as though it achieved a unique outcome that worked really well,’ he says.

One of Chris’ favourite features of the project is the battened timber entry. ‘There are two secret doors in the space, and when you walk in, it’s a dark and moody space. The curves guide you up to the main living area, which is where you are hit by how light and bright this space is.’

Whether it’s quiet downtime after a busy day at the beach, or quality family time around the fireplace or pool, the Parkside Beach House is sure to get a work out this summer!

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